Lowe Says RBA Closer To Pause Interest Rate Hike

Rigel Pharma Gains After Swinging To Profit In Q4

Rigel Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (RIGL) shares are gaining more than 10 percent on Wednesday morning trade after the company reported fourth-quarter profit of $1.401 million or $0.01 per share, compared to loss of $22.64 million or $0.13 per share last year.

Revenue for the quarter increased to $51.28 million from $20.41 million a year ago.

Currently, shares are at $1.65, up 12.89 percent from the previous close of $1.47 on a volume of 19,739,727.

European Economic News Preview: Eurozone Flash Inflation, Unemployment Data Due

Flash inflation and unemployment data from the euro area and the minutes of the governing council from the European Central Bank are due on Thursday.

At 3.00 am ET, Spain unemployment data is due. The number of unemployed is forecast to increase by 11,500 in February.

In the meantime, flash inflation figures are due from Austria.

At 4.00 am ET, Italy’s statistical office Istat publishes unemployment data for January. The jobless rate is seen unchanged at 7.8 percent.

At 5.00 am ET, Eurostat releases euro area flash inflation and unemployment data. The annual inflation rate is forecast to ease to 8.2 percent in February from 8.6 percent in January. At the same time, the unemployment rate is forecast to remain at 6.6 percent in January.

At 7.30 am ET, the European Central Bank is scheduled to issue the account of the monetary policy meeting of the Governing Council held on February 1 and 2.

State Dept. Spokesperson Ned Price To Step Down

After more than two years’ service, State Department spokesperson Ned Price will step down this month. The news was announced by Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

A former intelligence officer, Price assumed office as the Spokesperson for the State Department on January 20, 2021.

Within days of taking on the role, he restored the Department’s daily press briefings, giving journalists the chance to regularly ask tough questions of the Biden administration’s policy. He has held more than 200 press briefings since then.

In February 2022, just days before Russia invaded Ukraine, Price told reporters that Russia was planning to stage an attack as a pretext for war.

Price will continue to serve at the State Department, working directly for the Secretary.

Blinken said Price performed with extraordinary professionalism and integrity.

For people in America and around the world, Ned Price has often been a face and voice of U.S. foreign policy, according to him.

“Ned has helped the U.S. government defend and promote press freedom around the globe and modeled the transparency and openness we advocate for in other countries. His contributions will benefit the Department long after his service,” Blinken said in a statement.

United Natural Falls On Lower Profit, Reduced Outlook

United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) shares are falling more than 28 percent on Wednesday morning trade after the company announced a fall in second-quarter profit and revised down outlook for the full year 2023.

For the quarter, the company reported a profit of $19 million or $0.31 per share, down from $66 million or $1.08 per share in the prior year.

For fiscal 2023, the company reduced its outlook midpoint by 53 percent to $90-$142 million from the previous outlook range of $247-$266 million. Adjusted earnings per share are expected to be down 28 percent in a range of $3.05-$3.90 per share.

Currently, shares are at $29.41, down 28.20 percent from the previous close of $40.96 on a volume of 2,014,476.

Ten-Year Note Auction Attracts Below Average Demand

Continuing this week’s series of announcements of the results of its long-term securities auctions, the Treasury Department revealed Wednesday that this month’s auction of $32 billion worth of ten-year notes attracted below average demand.

The ten-year note auction drew a high yield of 3.985 percent and a bid-to-cover ratio of 2.35.

The Treasury sold $35 billion worth of ten-year notes last month, drawing a high yield of 3.613 percent and a bid-to-cover ratio of 2.66.

The bid-to-cover ratio is a measure of demand that indicates the amount of bids for each dollar worth of securities being sold.

The ten previous ten-year note auctions had an average bid-to-cover ratio of 2.42.

On Tuesday, the Treasury revealed this month’s auction of $40 billion worth of three-year notes attracted above average demand.

The Treasury is due to announce the results of this month’s auction of $18 billion worth of thirty-year bonds on Thursday.

Lowe Says RBA Closer To Pause Interest Rate Hike

Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe said the bank is closer to pause interest rate increases to assess the effects of the past rate hikes.

“With monetary policy now in restrictive territory, we are closer to the point where it will be appropriate to pause interest rate increases to allow more time to assess the state of the economy,” the governor said at the keynote address to the Financial Review Business Summit, on Wednesday.

At what point it will be appropriate to pause interest rate will be determined by the data as well as the assessment of the outlook, Lowe added.

On March 7, the RBA had raised its key interest rate by a quarter-point to a more than 10-year high and signaled more tightening to combat high inflation.

The RBA has lifted its monetary policy by a cumulative 350 basis points since May 2022.

Lowe said the board discussed the effects of the past cumulative rate hikes and the difficulties faced by households due to higher interest rates.

Nonetheless, the governor said further tightening of policy is likely to be required to bring inflation back to the target within a reasonable timeframe. Inflation remains too high and while it looks to be on a declining path, it is likely to remain higher than target for a few years, he noted.

“If we don’t get inflation down fairly soon, the end result will be even higher interest rates and more unemployment,” said Lowe.